A university librarian explains why her zine collection's catalog is open access

Marta Chudolinska is Learning Zone Librarian at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, which hosts a huge zine collection founded in 2007 Alicia Nauta, then a student.

In this fascinating article, Chudolinska explains the collections development process for the zine collection, the outreach they do, and the thinking process behind opening up the zine catalog.

Since 2010, I have been searching for a way to make the zine catalog searchable to the OCAD U community and the general public. Making the catalog openly available to the general public was one of the primary goals in selecting the best search tool for the collection, since so much of the content in the collection was donated by the general public. Additionally, locking the catalog behind a user login went against the ethos of zines and zine culture: to be open, accessible, and existing outside of the regular boundaries of institutions. When our Visual Resources Department selected Artstor’s Shared Shelf as the primary tool for our institutional image database, the Learning Zone staff immediately saw the benefits of using this system, particularly the ability to publish publicly on Shared Shelf Commons, for sharing the catalog of the collection.

The OCAD U Library’s Visual Resources department has been instrumental in making this project a reality. Since 2011, long before we had a system selected, they have been scanning the covers of zines in our collection in preparation for the time that the catalog would go live. At present, we have almost 2200 zines cataloged, so this has been no small feat. In the past year, they have worked with the Learning Zone staff in editing and expanding our cataloging metadata to map onto Shared Shelf standards, as well as providing us with hands-on training in using the administrator functions and cataloging back end of the system.

We are incredibly pleased and proud to have the collection accessible, searchable and visible through the images of the zine covers. We hope that by having the collection available on Shared Shelf Commons, we will see an increase of access and use by the OCAD U community, outside researchers and the general public. The Zine Collection is constantly growing. We have hundreds of new zines to catalog and add to Shared Shelf Commons. We continue to collect zines through donation and purchase. We have an ongoing collaboration with Broken Pencil magazine, whose staff donate review copies of zines sent to them to our collection after they have been reviewed. These collection development practices, as well as the ongoing and enduring excitement about zines at OCAD U, in Toronto and beyond, means that there is no end in sight for the development and expansion of our special collection.

Staying true to the ethos of zines at OCAD U [Artstor]